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Apr. 27, 2012

Tackling Athletes and Brain Injuries

by Annette Heist

Click to enlarge images
This week, we’re joined by the director and one of the stars of a new play, Headstrong, which opens next week at the Ensemble Studio Theater in New York.
 
The play’s story comes straight from the headlines. In the last decade or so, doctors examining the brains of a handful of deceased pro-football players noticed a pattern of disease, similar to Alzheimer’s, which they termed chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. The cause of CTE? Repeated blows to the head. Who’s susceptible, how many hits it takes to develop CTE, and whether the condition is the cause of a pattern of behavioral and psychological problems seen in some players, are questions scientists are still working on.
 
The play isn’t waiting for science to answer. It asks provocative questions about the role of sports in our society, and the value we place on those who play the game. Well written, with top-notch performances by this ensemble cast, we give it two thumbs up.
 
About Annette Heist

Annette Heist is a former senior producer for Science Friday.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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